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Hiring the Best in Class

Simple tips to determine if your candidates have the behavioural traits and skills needed for the role

Hire for potential, not experience

Hire for potential, not experience

You should look for people who have a solid and versatile foundation and the ability and desire to learn new things.

Keep this in mind for a recruitment and retention strategy as well. Too often, companies don’t want to promote from within because they want someone in the position that can “hit the ground running.”This strategy denies reality because the position will change anyway. Retain your best employees by promoting them into stretch roles.

Ask your employees questions

Do you know what makes your current employees happy? Do you know what makes them miserable? If you can’t, you may find yourself struggling to hold onto good people. 

You need to know what your employees want and need before you develop your training and development programs. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • What parts of your job are most interesting and rewarding?
  • What areas are you finding most challenging right now?
  • What are you doing to reach short- and long-term career goals?
  • Are there any other projects, committees or additional responsibilities you would like to be a part of?
  • Is there anything else you’re curious about that you haven’t been able to explore yet?

Keep an eye on your competitors

Your hiring and retention competitors are not just the people who make and sell similar products and services; they are also anyone who hires people similar to your employees.

In addition to salary, people are looking for flexibility. Whether it’s working from home, a hybrid situation or shifts that fit their lives, other companies offer those.

Not Enough Workers

Not Enough Workers

Help-wanted signs are visible across the economy at a variety of businesses—especially in hospitality, manufacturing, and construction—as trying to hire enough workers amid an economic rebound can be a difficult task.
The pace of hiring cannot keep up with demand, even though the current unemployment rate of just over 6 percent remains well above the historically low pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

Fear Of Coming Back To Work

Recent government survey data show that people are reluctant to seek work because of fear of getting sick. In addition, widespread layoffs and furloughs during the early months of the pandemic left many workers feeling distrustful and vulnerable.

A lack of trust in employers and the fear of being let go again could keep many people away from the workforce for as long as possible.

Better Hiring: Higher Salary

Offer higher wages—and not just signing bonuses. To attract workers, including hourly employees, some employers have resorted to signing bonuses. Restaurants, for example, are offering bonuses when people are hired or after a period of a few months.

Although a signing bonus puts money in someone’s pocket immediately, far more impactful is for employers to pay more than minimum wage as recognition of employees’ value to the organization. Amazon, for example, is offering an average of $17 per hour, above the minimum wage of $15 per hour.

The Art Of Hiring

The Art Of Hiring

Hiring, according to top corporate leaders, should not just be the standard job interview, which has become predictable and routine, but something creative and challenging.

One has to find new ways to find out how a person thinks, taking them out of their ‘seat of comfort’. Allowing candidates to speak their mind, or providing them challenging situations to work on can be a better indicator of their employability.

Interview, Unplugged

One has to check if the candidate is genuinely interested in the job or is just checking all boxes of dressing right and talking right to land up with an offer letter.

How they treat and interact with others (like the guy handing them the coffee) also helps gauge their personality. One can take the candidate on a tour inside the company building, noticing how they ask questions, or how curious they are.

The Interview Meal

Sharing a meal provides the recruiter with a big opportunity to observe the candidate, like how they make eye contact, how polite they are, or the way they ask questions.

One can see what frustrates or flusters them and if they are patient or agitated. The whole personality of the candidate can be gauged by one meal with them.


The key to understanding product management is to think of it as a practice—somewhat like a doctor practising medicine or a lawyer practising law.


Product management skills

The practice of product management consists of two sets of skills:

  1. Technical skills are tools to solve a customer problem: What work is done - product roadmaps, vision statements, OKRs and KPIs, design sprints, product prototypes, testing, MVPs.
  2. Human skills are about how the work is done - the ability to influence, lead, coach, mentor, learn, handle conflict, communicate, be curious, innovate, adapt, energise, build and maintain relationships, and grow as an individual.

A product practitioner needs to balance technical skills with human skills in order to succeed.

Understanding EQ and human skills

The basic dimensions of emotional intelligence:

  • Self-awareness: The ability to understand what we're feeling and the reason for feeling it. Self-awareness is at the centre of intuition and decision-making.
  • Self-management: The ability to regulate difficult emotions and connect with positive emotions to energise our work.
  • Social awareness: The ability to foster relationships and be aware of others' feelings, needs and concerns.
  • Relationship management: Merging self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness to ensure positive and beneficial relationships.

Follow-Up Email

Follow-Up Email

After an interview, a follow-up email to your candidates can do wonders for your recruiting efforts.

Maintaining communication with your candidates keeps them engaged while respecting and appreciating them after setting aside time for you. Taking a proactive approach to follow-up emails can also help you land better talent. While not all recruiters may have the time to write individual follow-up emails, understanding the art of writing a template can help.

The structure of an ideal candidate follow-up email

After an interview, send the ideal candidate a follow-up email.

  • Subject line: Write the purpose of the email. Keep it formal and concise. For example, "Follow-up on your interview." or "Thank you for your time this morning."
  • Intro: Mention the person by name. Thank them for their time/follow up with something that came up during the interview.
  • Body: In about 100 words, deliver on your subject line.
  • Closing. End the email on a positive note. For example, "Thanks again", "Let's stay in touch!".

Template to thank a candidate after the interview


I wanted to thank you for giving us a chance earlier today to get to know you better and talk about the [JOB] opening.

I was impressed with your experience and, although we haven’t made any decisions yet, I was glad to see that [COMPANY] and you share some common values. We’re still conducting interviews until [DATE]. After that, you can expect to hear back from us before the [DATE].

Thanks again, it was great meeting you.


A Hiring Crisis

A Hiring Crisis

For the first time since 2008, volume is missing from high-volume hiring, leaving most organizations using traditional recruitment strategies unprepared. As a result, employers are now having to quickly adapt to the current situation — with no true guideline for doing it the right way.

Companies are consequently increasing wages, offering sign-on bonuses, and covering tuition fees in a bid to get candidates through the door and to keep hold of current employees. And yet, all over the world, the talent pools for hourly roles continue to dry up.

People Don’t Want To Work For Others

The heightened risk of getting sick, along with low wages, inflexible work schedules, and the increasing number of remote vacancies are all contributing to the talent crisis affecting the high-volume hiring.

But the lack of candidates for hourly jobs, which are mostly entry-level in nature, is the result, not the cause, of the broken talent acquisition practices that have been in place for years. Again, the pandemic has simply brought these issues to light.

High-Volume Hiring No Longer Works

In the current context, the lack of candidates at the top of the funnel seems like the most pressing problem. Yet if we look beneath the surface, we see that across industries, companies in the high-volume-hiring space are struggling with high attrition, poor-quality hires, and high drop-off rates throughout the recruitment funnel.  

These problems are constant, and fixing them could put an end to the shortage of workers, as fewer people quitting means fewer seats to fill.

Types of hired help

Types of hired help

Various sources can help to scale your business. Technology is one crucial element. The other is the people behind your product or solution.

You will need more people when your business grows, but they don't have to be full-time employees. You can hire different types of help, such as outsourced companies, subcontractors/freelancers, and full-time employees.

Full-time employees


  • You have a lot of say over what tasks a full-time employee accomplish daily.
  • They build specialised knowledge about your product or services.
  • They develop strong relationships with clients if they're in client-facing roles.
  • They become a crucial part of your company's culture.


  • Full-time employees come with mandatory costs and other expenses.
  • If you want them to stay committed, you have to keep them happy by offering competitive salaries, benefits, training, tools and company perks.



  • You hire a subcontractor for a specific project, so expenses are limited to the contract.
  • You don't have to pay salaries, benefits, or offer company perks.
  • You have a medium-level say over their work tasks.
  • You're hiring a professional who knows their craft and don't have to provide too much oversight.


  • They might not be the best fit for your company or project.
  • They might leave for another hire at a higher rate if they don't want to work with you long-term.
  • They work with multiple clients and can't devote their full focus to your project.

Hiring Principles

Hiring Principles

Hiring means we failed to execute and need help. First, let me quell a misconception. Hiring is not a consequence of success. Revenue and customers are. Hiring is a consequence of our failure to create enough leverage (see eShares 101) to grow on our own. It means we need outside help. The perfect business is a computer plugged into the internet. Anything more is just overhead.

Lies We Tell Ourselves

We rationalize this behavior with “lies we tell ourselves.” Here are a few lies people use to keep an ineffective employee: 

  • He is trying really hard. 
  • She deserves another chance. 
  • People really like her. 
  • I feel bad for him. 
  • He’s good at other things. 
  • He has stuff going on in his personal life 
  • She is in the wrong role. 

Employee effectiveness is a power law

Employee effectiveness is a power law

Much like startup performance follows a power law, so do startup employees. The most effective employees create 20x more leverage than an average employee. This is not true in an efficiency company — the best employees might work 2x faster than their peers. But in a high-leverage startup like ours, the effectiveness gap between employees can be multiple orders of magnitude.

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